The Best Times to Visit and Leave Your Favorite Disney Locations

in Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World

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Warning! The hours of operation do differ between the Parks and other destinations comprising Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort.

It’s natural for folks visiting Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, or Disneyland in Anaheim, California, to have questions. Everything from the best time of year for Disneyland or Disney World vacationing to “Can I leave Disneyland and come back again?” has been questioned repeatedly. But perhaps the most common questions are those that pertain to knowing the hours of operation at each location’s various Parks and other venues. Whether you want to know the actual opening and closing times for your favorite Disney locales or need advice about when you should ideally arrive onsite or depart in time to deflect the crowds, we at Inside the Magic have compiled this go-to guide for you to refer to.

Related: Disney World Severely Cuts Hours, Permanently Changing

Disney World

Disney Park Hours in Florida

 In addition to housing over 20 hotels onsite, Walt Disney World Resort consists of four theme parks, two water parks, and an entertainment district known as Disney Springs. And all these diverse venues have their own distinct set hours of operation. Below you will find the most updated listing of public operational times for each venue and our advice on when to arrive and depart accordingly.

Magic Kingdom

 On most days, Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park opens at 9 a.m. and remains in operation until closing to the public at 10 p.m. Guests staying at Disney Resorts, particularly and at select Good Neighbor Hotels, are permitted entry a half hour early, at 8:30 a.m.

Because it’s important to arrive early, we recommend arriving in time to enter at 8:30 a.m. if you are a Guest. Otherwise, you should still plan to arrive early to get ahead in line and be able to proceed when the Park opens at 9 a.m.

Disney’s “Happily Ever After” Nighttime Spectacular begins at 9 p.m. If you have already seen it or don’t mind missing the ending, we recommend not staying and having to contend with all the other Guests trying to exist all at once. Of course, there’s also the option of staying later, heading to one of the interconnected stores on Main Street, U.S.A., toward the tail-end of the fireworks and then waiting until the exiting crowds thin out before heading out.

Nighttime Fireworks over Castle at Magic Kingdom
Credit: Disney

EPCOT

The public hours of operation for EPCOT are typically set for 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. This even includes the World Showcase, which previously opened later in the day. Again, Resort Guests can enter as early as 8:30 a.m., which is again what we recommend. In fact, may we suggest using the International Gateway Entrance toward the back of the Park as an alternative to entering the front way with swarms of other people? 

The “EPCOT Forever” Nighttime Spectacular begins at 9 p.m. on the World Showcase Lagoon. Again, we recommend inching your way over to either Park exits during the grand event or even before to beat the beeline that will follow.

EPCOT's International Gateway
Credit: D23

Related: Disney World Shares Details About New Nighttime Spectacular

Hollywood Studios 

Hollywood Studios generally opens to the public at 8:30 a.m., meaning Disney Resort Guests can get in as early as 8 a.m. Again, early arrival is clearly something you’ll want to do.

While the public Park closing time is typically 9 p.m. most nights, some evening events begin after the public closing, meaning people may not get in after 9 p.m. Instead, they need to plan on arriving before the gates shutter to the public if they want to attend those later happenings.  The events we are referring to are “The Wonderful World of Animation” at 9:15 p.m. and Fantasmic! at 9:30 p.m. Note that Fantasmic! is a ticketed extra, so most do not stay for it. Therefore, you may want to plan your escape according to which Park events you decide to stick around for or not.

Streetscape at Hollywood Studios
Credit: Disney

Animal Kingdom Park

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park opens at 9 a.m. on most days, with Disney Guests permitted entry as early as 8:30 a.m. Again, we recommend getting there as soon as you can. In truth, though, you can pretty much arrive at Animal Kingdom Park anytime throughout the day. There’s no need to get there right when they open. But you may want to arrive before noon.

This Park closes at 7 p.m.—earlier than others. We recommend heading out after 5 p.m. when things start winding down. Or you can stick around until the very end and not suffer the consequences of nighttime happenings since things are kept pretty low-key here out of respect for the animal residents.

Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom
Credit: Disney

Disney World Water Park Hours

Disney World has two onsite water parks—Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. While the former is currently closed temporarily, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon is now open for operation daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

While it’s not typical for Guests to be able to arrive earlier than 10 a.m., you have the option of signing up for early morning surf instructions at an additional cost, which can start as early as 6:30 a.m. depending on available offerings and time slots. This may be the alternative you seek for enjoying the Park without the crowds.

While the water park closes at 6 p.m. on most days, on select nights, there are special ticketed extras known as H20 Glow After Hours Parties. These allow Guests three additional evening hours of fun, folly, and mingling with Disney favorites.

Typhoon Lagoon
Credit: Disney

Related: Should You Plan a Water Park Day at Blizzard Beach In Summer 2023?

Special Engagements

In addition to the aforementioned H20 Glow Parties at Typhoon Lagoon, various other Disney World Parks offer special Disney After Hours events on select nights. Again, these come as ticketed extras that allow you three extra hours of fun.

Additionally, Guests staying at Deluxe Resorts specifically get to enjoy Extended Evening Hours on select nights. The Parks that offer these events change and present such options on a rotating basis.

There are also special ticketed holiday happenings at Disney World throughout the year. The two main events are Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Both take place at Magic Kingdom Park, with the latter ongoing right now on select nights between 7 p.m. and midnight. On these days, the public Park closing is set for 6 p.m. Guests attending these events may begin arriving as early as 3 p.m.

Folks enjoying Disney World after Dark
Credit: Disney

Related: Dates Announced for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Park Hopping

Those purchasing Park Hopper at Walt Disney World Resort may not “hop” to their second Park pick until at least 2 p.m. in the afternoon. After that, they may visit as many Parks as they’d like without making any additional Park Reservations.

Disney Springs

The general hours of operation for Disney Springs are between 10 a.m. and 11 p.m. on weekdays and 10 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. on weekends. Of course, these hours may vary for specific onsite venues.

If you’re traveling with your own vehicle, it may interest you to know that some of the Disney Springs parking garage hours become available even earlier in the day—before the official opening. The Orange Garage, for instance, starts operating at 9 a.m. and is the recommended place to park for those attending Disney Springs for pre-opening offerings, such as Amorette’s Cake decorating activities.

Signage for Disney Springs
Credit: Disney Dining

Related: Did You Know You Can Decorate Your Very Own Cake at This Disney Springs Location?

Disneyland

California Disney Park Hours

Disneyland Resort has three official Disney-owned and operated hotels, two theme parks, and an entertainment district—Downtown Disney. Again, the hours of operation for each venue differ significantly.

Disneyland Park

On most days, Disneyland Park opens at 8 a.m. and remains open through 12 a.m. As is the case at Disney World, Guests staying at a Disney Resort Hotel can enter 30 minutes early at 7:30 a.m. We count this option as the best time for Disneyland Park entry. You may want to arrive even earlier and get in line to be one of the first ones.

Disneyland’s Nighttime Spectacular takes place at 9:30 p.m. Most Guests like to stay for this and then leave once the show ends. We do not recommend leaving at this high-volume time. Either leave before the grand event or make your getaway long afterward.

Disney Characters posing in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle
Credit: Disney

Disney California Adventure Park

Disney California Adventure Park also opens at 8 a.m. and stays open to the public until 10 p.m. Again, Disney Resort Guests can enter as early as 7:30 a.m. We recommend arriving at this time or as early as you can.

Even though the public closing time is officially 10 p.m., Guests may stay up to 30 to 60 minutes past this time. It’s also worth mentioning that the second showing of the Nighttime Spectacular “World of Color “begins at 10:15 p.m. The first one is at 9 p.m. You may want to consider these times when planning your departure.

Pixar Pier at Disney California Adventure
Credit: Disney

Special Engagements

Disneyland Resort is home to its own host of special in-Park engagements and ticketed events. On select nights, the two Parks may offer special Disneyland After Dark events. These are separate ticketed happenings that allow attendees up to four hours of fun past Park closing time and an additional three-hour pre-party mix.

There are also holiday party ticketed events too, like the Oogie Boogie Bash at Disneyland Park during Halloween, and various Christmas and other seasonal suggestions too.

Disneyland After Dark
Credit: Disney

Related: Once Again, Oogie Boogie Bash Ticket Sales Are a Disaster

Park Hopping

Those who purchase Park Hopper at Disneyland may make the hop to the other Park starting at 11 a.m. It’s also worth noting that if you did not enter the first Park that you made your initial reservation for by the time Park Hopping is allowed, you could still do the latter regardless.

Downtown Disney

The hours of operation for Downtown Disney are from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily. Like Disney World, specific venues may adhere to their own set hours.

Folks enjoying Downtown Disney
Credit: Disney

All hours of operation at both Disney World and Disneyland are subject to change. But we hope this guide gives you a rough idea of the current situation and helps you to plan accordingly for your slated arrival and departure times when visiting.

Do you have any particular questions related to the hours of operation for a specific venue at either Disney World or Disneyland? Let us know in the comments.

in Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World

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